The pandemic is forcing employers to rethink their workforce strategies

Of the many impacts the pandemic has had on workers, perhaps one of the most important has been to give some a chance to reflect. Workers are increasingly looking for better opportunities, inclusive environments and the ability to be heard in a meaningful way. And employers would be well advised to heed those calls in an already tight job market.

The PwC Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey 2022 sheds light on current worker attitudes, while highlighting ways employers can meet these needs from a professional and personal perspective.

The survey of 52,000 people in 44 countries found that 65% of employees discuss sensitive topics at work, with very promising and perhaps surprising results. Respondents say these types of discussions lead to a better understanding of their colleagues (41%), create a more open and inclusive work environment (34%), help them process their own points of view (32%), make them more confident to share views (31%) and increase empathy (28%).

Related: Job Satisfaction at Lowest Level in 20 Years: Survey

“These discussions are taking place despite few active efforts by organizations to facilitate them,” the report notes. “Only 30% of employees said their company helps them work effectively with people who share different points of view. This is a missed opportunity, given the importance of empathy and openness to build trust.

This opportunity is particularly relevant for employers today, given that the survey indicates that 20% of employees say they are likely to change employers in the next 12 months. And those who are likely to leave are 14% less fulfilled in their job compared to those who have no intention of leaving their current position.

The report suggests leaders can make progress by setting standards, offering resources, and helping to ensure these conversations happen in safe, non-judgmental environments. “These environments should emphasize listening – not problem-solving or consensus building – and thus represent growth opportunities for senior managers as well, who are often much more comfortable in problems solving.”

But are employers taking advantage of the new opportunities found to address skills? Not really. Only 40% of employees said their company is upgrading skills, and only 26% said their employer automates or improves work through technology. Both of these numbers are low enough to suggest considerable room for improvement.

Meanwhile, turnover remains largely tied to compensation, with 71% of employees saying being fairly rewarded financially is the most important factor when considering a change in work environment. Meanwhile, 69% cited fulfillment at work as the main factor, while 66% said they were allowed to truly be themselves.

And as the pandemic has changed expectations around work in general, a majority of workers prefer (63%) and expect (63%) hybrid work options, while 18% expect fully remote work as an option. and 11% prefer full-time telecommuting. .

The findings represent another starting reminder for employers to continue to tailor their workforce strategy to the unique needs of their workers, the report said. “Most organizations will need to align their purpose and trust agenda, create the right environment for employees to address social and political issues, commit to pay transparency, double down on inclusion, and invest in leadership development. for all of this to happen.”

Michael A. Bynum